Poll: Obama Losing Lead Among Florida Latino Voters

Obama does retain narrow edges on fundamental issues. Fifty-one percent say he is the better candidate at fixing the economy, while 48 percent believe Romney would be better.

And Florida Latino voters prefer Obama to Romney 55-44 percent among Latino voters in Florida when it comes to addressing the sensitive topic of immigration.

Both surveys contain methodological issues that pose questions about their accuracy. The FIU poll is a so-called "robo poll" that uses automated calls to survey voters. Polls using that method cannot include people who exclusively use cell phones, who tend to be younger and have more liberal political views.

While the "robo calls" were conducted in both English and Spanish, pollsters generally believe that voters who speak Spanish only or dominantly are more accurately surveyed with live, in-person calls.

Critics of the poll also pointed out that Cuban voters may have been overrepresented in the sample. FIU's survey was comrpised of 47 percent Cuban-American voters, whereas other pollsters estimate the group will make up about a third of the electorate in November. Other Florida Latino groups lean more toward Democrats.

"Today, the Florida Latino electorate is far more diverse than it was 12 years ago when the Elián González scandal swung the election to [George W.] Bush," said Matt Barreto of the political opinion research firm Latino Decisions. "Today, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Colombians and many Central Americans are increasing in electoral influence in Florida and we absolutely have to update our models and understanding of the Florida Latino electorate."

And the Mason-Dixon poll contained a very small sample of Latino voters, meaning that it's unclear whether the small sample serves as an accurate reflection of the overall electorate.

Still, observers of Florida politics believe that the race for Latino voters is tightening in Florida.

The Romney campaign has begun to flood Florida with Spanish-language ads. The Obama campaign was outspending Romney's in Spanish 2-1 as of mid-September, according to data from Kantar Media. But Romney's campaign nearly matched Obama's in the Miami market, the base of the Cuban community, spending $1.6 million there on TV ads (compared to Obama's $1.9 million).

Republicans have also used a network of Hispanic surrogates to hold outreach events around the state, including big names such as Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio.

And as the numbers reflect, questions remain about Romney, but enthusiasm for President Obama has sputtered in the aftermath of the first presidential debate. The big question for Obama is whether he can rekindle that enthusiasm in the final 22 days of the campaign.

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